JOHN’S, N.L. -Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is announcing the three commissioners who will lead an inquiry into the experiences of children from Labrador’s Innu Nation in provincial care, four years after the inquiry was first announced.
Retired provincial court Judge James Igloliorte has been named chief commissioner, and he’ll be backed by Anastasia Qupee, former Innu Nation
Grand Chief, and Mike Devine, a retired associate professor of social work at Memorial University.
Grand Chief Etienne Rich told reporters today there is a direct link between Canada’s residential school system and the over-representation of Indigenous children in care, adding that the inquiry is meant to break that cycle.
Deputy Grand Chief Mary Ann Nui was emotional as she spoke of intergenerational trauma inflicted on the Innu Nation by the province’s five former residential schools and said she hopes the inquiry will be an important step toward keeping children safe.
Government data indicates that as of December 2019, 230 of the 985 children in the province’s care were from Labrador, and a spokesperson for the government has said that 155 Indigenous children and youth in Labrador were placed in provincial care between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2021.
Dwight Ball’s Liberal government first announced in 2017 a memorandum of understanding with the Innu Nation to pursue the inquiry.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.